RSS is really cool

Published on

Tags: 2021

If you’re reading this, obviously you know I have a blog. I don’t post very often, so people probably don’t check my site very frequently. But if “Jackson’s #1 fan” wanted to keep up to date with me and my website, checking my page every single day would probably get annoying. It would get even more annoying if “Jackson’s #1 fan” was also “Tommy’s #1 fan” and was checking his page every day. Checking these pages every single day would be very tedious, and since they’re different platforms there is no way to aggregate them into one feed like YouTube or Twitter is there? RSS feeds and RSS readers are the solution.

RSS - Real Simple Syndication is a format for creating feeds of information, and readers are just programs that read these feeds and present you that information.

RSS is conveyed in XML, and for an example you can go to Most feeds will follow the same format and include the same meta tags (date, title, etc.). I say mostly because each site probably does it slightly differently. As in there are some meta tags they use/don’t.

There are many different RSS readers you can use. I have used QuiteRSS on windows, and I use newsboat on linux currently. Both are really good free software programs.

QuiteRSS is a full GUI application, with pretty good customization options, and if you’re just getting started reading RSS this is a pretty good option.

Newsboat on the other hand is much less user friendly, and geared towards more technical users as it is a terminal based program. It’s not that it makes RSS hard, it’s still really simple, it’s just that operating newsboat can be a little unintuitive and a little bare for most people who just want to read their blogs. That being said, it is still my favorite RSS reader.

I won’t go into how to set these up, as QuiteRSS is pretty basic and mostly “click this, click that” and Luke Smith has already made a good video on how to configure newsboat.

As far as actually creating an RSS feed, there are many programs out there (and you can probably just write your own in a text editor), but the one I use is Luke Smith’s lb script. You just write your blog in a text editor, then it generates the necessary links on your site for the html pages, and updates your RSS file.

The more I use RSS for reading blog posts and keeping up to date with different sites, the more I really love it. It is so nice to not have to check 80 different sites to even see if someone has posted, let alone read/watch them.

Odysee (a frontend for LBRY) recently implemented RSS feeds for their channels, which is a big step in getting me totally off of YouTube. I still watch some people on YouTube, so I have their feeds in my reader, but I don’t HAVE to have an account to subscribe anymore.

RSS also has changed my content viewing habits. I look for more niche blogs around the internet. Lots of people have really cool things to say, and sticking to one platform is sort of dumb.

So anyway, go and use RSS! Here is a list of people I enjoy and follow. You can put these into your reader, or visit their site manually.

One note about the YouTube channels, if you understand how url parameters work you can use the channel ids and format your own if you want to follow other people.

by Jackson Taylor